six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Colbert and Carell recall a classic bad review

In the mid-’90s some college friends of mine and I started a website (they weren’t yet called blogs) called TeeVee, where we’d write theoretically funny stuff about TV. Stuff like my friend Pete Ko’s review of a show called “Over the Top”, which premiered in 1997 and was rapidly cancelled.

In 2001, Pete got an email from a “Daily Show” performer named Stephen Colbert:

Dear Mr. Ko,

I would like to congratulate you on your Review of Over the Top. That is some good writing.

In 2006 when Steve Carell won the Television Critics Association award for best actor for “The Office,” his acceptance speech was mostly quotes from Pete’s review of “Over the Top.”

These guys are still talking about it, as they did Friday:

After Colbert and Carell’s short-lived run on The Dana Carvey Show came to an end, because the show was canceled after seven episodes, Carell went back to L.A. where, as he said Friday night, he did a “bunch of bad sitcoms,” including one Colbert called “the worst bad sitcom of all time,” a show called Over the Top, which lived up to its name, at least with respect to Carell’s performance. The sitcom, in which Carell played a Greek chef at a hotel run by Annie Potts’ character, also had the distinction of receiving a horrible but hilariously written review from Teevee.org, which has been quoted by Carell before. On Friday, he and Colbert recalled some of the pan’s best lines (“[Steve Carell’s appearance on screen sent] audiences and critics alike diving over their ottomans, fumbling for the TV Guide, screaming ‘Who the hell is that!?!’ and “I have stood in a freezer full of dead people at the morgue. I have seen a man’s scalp pulled back over his nose…But I can now honestly say that until Steve Carell’s turn in the premiere of Over the Top, I have never known true horror.”), and Colbert revealed he was so impressed by the reviewer’s writing, he asked the reviewer, Peter Ko, to be a writer for The Colbert Report, but Ko wasn’t remotely interested.

I don’t recall Pete ever mentioning a job offer to me, but he’s doing okay. He’s a U.S. Attorney now. So Colbert and Carell, keep on the right side of the law.